German officials say the government is ready to stop buying Russian oil when it secures an alternative supply, paving the way for an EU oil embargo from this country.
Germany has been one of the countries opposed to the EU cutting off Russian energy. However, Germany’s representative to the European Union (EU) changed its stance against the oil embargo from Russia, provided that Berlin had enough time to secure an alternative supply, WSJ April 28 quoted two officials familiar with the news.
The German change could increase the likelihood that EU countries will agree on a phased embargo on Russian oil. According to diplomats and officials, a final decision could be made by the EU next week.
However, how quickly the EU will stop buying Russian oil, and whether the bloc will impose price ceilings or impose tariffs, are still being negotiated. The United States is urging its European allies to avoid moves that could send oil prices up.
The European debate about banning Russian oil has turned decisively in recent days, as Germany joins a number of European countries in taking practical actions to replace Russian oil with other sources. Diplomats said that some EU countries are still cautious about the economic effects of imposing an embargo on Russian oil, including Hungary, Italy, Austria and Greece. The EU’s Russian oil embargo must be approved by all 27 member states.
German Foreign Minister Baerbock announced on April 21 that Germany would stop importing Russian oil by the end of this year as part of an effort to break away from Russian energy dependence. Russia accounts for about 35% of its oil imports and 55% of its gas imports. German officials have also previously proposed a goal by mid-2024 to stop importing Russian gas.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week said that Europe’s embargo on Russian oil would push up international oil prices, hurt the fragile global economy and have “very little effect” on Russia. . Yellen suggested that Europe could continue to buy oil and limit Russia’s access to payments.
The EU imports 3-3.5 million barrels of Russian oil per day, with payments of about $400 million per day. Russian supply accounts for about 27% of oil imports in the bloc. According to the International Energy Agency, oil and gas revenues account for 45% of Russia’s federal budget in 2021.
Ngoc Anh (Theo WSJ)